In 2010, I graduated with a degree in graphic design. I did a number of internships and (free) graphic design projects to build my portfolio. In addition, I started a small graphic design business (which failed after one year due to lack of paying clients). * Why: Most small businesses outsourced work to India via (odesk, elance, and other crowd sourcing sites. Therefore, they were not willing to pay me a liveable wage to do the same work. In addition, many hired me to do one project and then used it as a template to DIY all their future projects. Third, there are millions of designers all competing for the same jobs and I often got passed up for a different designer not because my designs were bad...
Throughout college and even during my job hunt, I worked a part-time retail job . From this retail job, I was able to land a contract mail room courier position with full-time benefits. I worked this job and continued to apply to graphic design , web design, copywriting, and marketing positions. There were over 30 interviews but all said that I did not have enough work experience and refused to hire me.(Yes, even after presenting a portfolio full of volunteer work...they didn't want volunteer work. They wanted to see how my designs helped increased revenue/ sales for x company).
The contract with my courier job ended in 2013 and I found myself without work. I decided to try starting a new business...this time focused on copy writing instead of graphic design. I went full force attending marketing events, handing out business cards, sending out sales letters, taking business owners to lunch, volunteering, going to meet-and-greets, blogging, giving out free eBooks, and putting ads on Craigslist. But, after several months of hard work, I only got 2 paid assignments. I got referrals but for unpaid spec projects...
All of the big businesses have marketing departments with a copywriter on staff. None of them wanted to hire me for projects because " its' already taken care of"... Advertising agency's and graphic design firms said that I didn't have enough experience and wouldn't hire me. Small businesses did not understand what a copywriter was and felt it was useless..."they can write for themselves."
I see freelance graphic designers, front-end web developers, copywriters all the time. I don't know how they do it.
My question to you is, what is the secret to making a living in a creative career? What am I doing wrong that's preventing me from landing projects?
Second question is, what other career options are available to people who have a creative background but who are unable to work in the creative field?